Looper / screen print / regular / Martin Ansin / USA

08.07.16

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Looper
AKA
--
Year of Film
2012
Director
Rian Johnson
Starring
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, Noah Segan, Piper Perabo, Jeff Daniels, Pierce Gagnon, Qing Xu, Tracie Thoms, Frank Brennan, Garret Dillahunt, Nick Gomez, Marcus Hester
Origin of Film
USA | China
Genre(s) of Film
Action | Crime | Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller
Type of Poster
Screen print
Style of Poster
Regular
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
2012
Designer
Martin Ansin
Artist
Martin Ansin
Size (inches)
24" x 36"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A striking design by the artist Martin Ansin features on this official screen print for the 2012 sci-fi film Looper. Written and directed by Rian Johnson, creator of the superb ‘Brick’ (2005), the film is a futuristic, somewhat dystopian crime-drama based around the theme of time travel. Looper is set in both 2044 and 2074 and stars Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the same character from each era, with the latter made to look uncannily like the former thanks to the skills of makeup artist Kazuhiro Tsuji. The audience learns that time-travel was invented in 2074 but then immediately outlawed. Because the tracking of individuals is so advanced and accurate, enterprising criminal gangs begin using the technology to dispose of victims they want disappeared.

These individuals are sent back in time 30 years and killed by the titular loopers who are paid in silver bars strapped to the victims. Eventually, however, all loopers must accept that they too are sent back in time to be killed by their younger selves. They are sent with reward of a packet of gold bars strapped to them and this moment known as ‘closing the loop’, is intended to stop the future authorities seeing a link to the use of time-travel. Young Joe (Gordon-Levitt) discovers that his flat-mate Seth (Paul Dano) failed to close his own loop because his older self warned him of a mysterious figure in the future known as the Rainmaker who has begun to overthrow the crime bosses and is murdering each of the loopers one by one. Joe reluctantly agrees to help his crime boss Abe (Jeff Daniels) track down Seth and close the loop.

One day Joe comes face to face with his older self and the older Joe (Willis) manages to overpower his younger self and he escapes. Older Joe is determined to kill the Rainmaker when he was just a child and young Joe discovers the target is a young child called Cid (Pierce Gagnon) who lives on a remote farm with his mother Sara (Emily Blunt). Sara confides that Cid has advanced telekinetic powers and that the young boy is barely able to control them when he gets angry. Soon, Abe’s henchmen come looking for young Joe and he must try to survive whilst also protecting Cid from older Joe and attempting to stop him from fulfilling his destiny as the Rainmaker.

Johnson also introduces an alternative timeline in which young Joe kills his older self before he can escape but then shows how the timelines are then ingeniously linked together. The film was met with great critical acclaim and performed brilliantly at the box-office, with takings several times the original production cost. Some recent reviews on IMDb have been pretty brutal and unforgiving of what are perceived to be plot holes focused around the time travel concepts, but the director himself has since explained that the film was never intended to get too focused on the technicalities of how it works:

‘Even though it’s a time-travel movie, the pleasure of it doesn’t come from the mass of time travel. It’s not a film like Primer, for instance, where the big part of the enjoyment is kind of working out all the intricacies of it. For Looper, I very much wanted it to be a more character-based movie that is more about how these characters dealt with the situation time travel has brought about.’

This screen print was commissioned by the limited edition poster outfit Mondo for a screening of the film at the 2012 Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas. It was created by the talented Uruguayan designer and artist Martin Ansin, whose work has graced many of the best posters released by Mondo, including several in the Universal Monsters series, like this amazing Phantom of the Opera one. This design for Looper cleverly captures the time travel concepts and the two versions of the lead character.  The artist also worked on a variant of the poster that features a silver colourway.

The other posters I’ve collected by Ansin can be seen here. His official website is well worth a browse.

Something Wild / quad / UK

05.07.16

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Something Wild
AKA
--
Year of Film
1986
Director
Jonathan Demme
Starring
Jeff Daniels, Melanie Griffith, Ray Liotta, George 'Red' Schwartz, Leib Lensky, Tracey Walter, Maggie T., Patricia Falkenhain, Sandy McLeod, Robert Ridgely
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Comedy | Crime | Romance | Thriller
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1986
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
29 15/16" x 39 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Something different, something daring, something dangerous

A colourful design features on this UK quad for the release of the 1986 cult flick Something Wild. Directed by Jonathan Demme (best known for Silence of the Lambs) the film is a difficult one to categorise as it has elements of comedy, action and also something of a road trip setup. The script was written by E. Max Frye whilst he was still at film school and made its way into Demme’s hands, with the director committing to filming it straight away.

Jeff Daniels stars as the straight-laced financier Charles Driggs who lives in a New York suburb and commutes every day into Manhattan. We first see him inside a greasy spoon diner from where he sneaks out without paying (in what he later calls a small act of rebellion) but not without attracting the attention of a sultry brunette who calls herself Lulu (a sexy turn from Melanie Griffith). Although reluctant at first, Charles is persuaded to accompany her on a spontaneous road trip out of the city.

Lulu first seduces him in a hotel room and then the pair continue on to her home town in Pennsylvania where she introduces Charles to her mother, saying that the pair have recently married. Lulu, who reveals her real name is Audrey, takes Charles along to a high school reunion. Whilst there Audrey’s ex-husband Ray Sinclair (an electrifying Ray Liotta), who she thought was still in prison for a string of robberies, appears and is initially friendly towards the couple. Things soon take a dark turn as Ray forces Charles to leave and drives off with Audrey. However, Charles realises how smitten he is with her and begins to tail them with a plan to prize her away from Ray.

The artwork on this UK quad is the same that is featured on the US one sheet and was clearly originally painted for that poster. I’ve struggled to identify who the artist is so if anyone has any ideas please get in touch. The colour schemes are similar on both posters but the logo is different and the quad has the additional photo of Ray Liotta.

Le Gang / B2 / style A / Japan

30.06.16

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Le Gang
AKA
The Gang (USA - video title)
Year of Film
1977
Director
Jacques Deray
Starring
Alain Delon, Xavier Depraz, Roland Bertin, Adalberto Maria Merli, Maurice Barrier, aymond Bussières, Giampiero Albertini, Laura Betti, Nicole Calfan
Origin of Film
Italy | France
Genre(s) of Film
Crime | Drama
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
Style A
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1977
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 5/16" x 28 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is one of two Japanese B2 posters (that I’m aware of) for the release of the 1977 crime drama Le Gang. The film was an Italian-French co-production and was directed by Jacques Deray, a Frenchman who helmed a number of crime thrillers during his career. French superstar Alain Delon, who collaborated with Deray on a number of similar films, plays the leader of the titular gang of criminals. The story is set in France during the 1940s and the plot, apparently based on true events, is described thusly on IMDb:

In 1945, as World War Two comes to a close, five small time crooks unite to form a gang. After several bold robberies they become notorious as “the front-wheel drive gang”. The police attempt to stop their crime spree with little success, but how long will their luck last?

The other style B2 can be seen on emovieposter.com here.

Lucky Lady / one sheet / USA

27.06.16

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Lucky Lady
AKA
--
Year of Film
1975
Director
Stanley Donen
Starring
Gene Hackman, Liza Minnelli, Burt Reynolds, Geoffrey Lewis, John Hillerman, Robby Benson, Michael Hordern, Anthony Holland, John McLiam, Val Avery, Louis Guss, William Bassett
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Comedy | Drama
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1975
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Richard Amsel
Size (inches)
27 2/16" x 40 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
75/219
Tagline
--

Artwork by the late, great Richard Amsel features on this one sheet for the 1975 comedy-drama Lucky Lady. The film was helmed by Stanley Donen, an American director who’s best known for Singing in the Rain (1952) and Charade (1963). Gene Hackman appears alongside Burt Reynolds and Liza Minnelli, and the former apparently took some persuading to star. He eventually relented when producers offered him the then significant sum of $1.5m. The film is set in the American prohibition era during which the sale and production of alcohol was banned across the whole country. The plot is described like so:

During the Prohibition era, a young widow, Claire (Minelli), gets involved in liquor smuggling and romance with two men, Walker (Reynolds) and Kibby (Hackman), off the San Diego coast. Organized crime controls bootlegging back east and wants to do the same here, so a hit man named McTeague (John Hillerman) is sent to deal with these amateur crooks, as is the Coast Guard, leading to various battles at sea.

Richard Amsel was born in Philadelphia in 1947 and studied at the city’s College of Art. Whilst there he entered and won a nationwide artist competition to paint the poster for the film ‘Hello Dolly!’. Amsel was just 22 at the time and this win helped him quickly establish a career in New York where he worked on album covers (including one for Barry Manilow) as well as magazine covers and editorial art. In addition, he worked on posters some of the most important films of the 1970s, including Chinatown, Nashville and The Sting. During the 1970s he also worked on a series of covers for the American magazine TV Guide, which are still celebrated to this day.

In the 1980s Amsel worked on what is my favourite Indiana Jones poster, the Raiders of the Lost Ark 1982 re-release one sheet. He had also painted the original release version, featuring a much more serious looking Indy. The artist’s final film poster was the one sheet for Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome in 1985. Amsel sadly died of AIDS-related complications that same year. He leaves behind a great legacy of unforgettable artwork, some of which I already have in the Film on Paper collection and which can be seen here.

Robocop 2 / Thailand

22.06.16

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Robocop 2
AKA
--
Year of Film
1990
Director
Irvin Kershner
Starring
Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Dan O'Herlihy, Belinda Bauer, John Glover, Mario Machado, Leeza Gibbons, John Ingle, Tom Noonan, Roger Aaron Brown
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Action | Sci-Fi
Type of Poster
Thai
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Thailand
Year of Poster
1990
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Tongdee Panumas
Size (inches)
23 15/16" x 34 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Excellent artwork by Tongdee Panumas features on this Thai poster for the release of the 1990 sequel, Robocop 2. The film is definitely not a patch on the classic original, although it does have a few redeeming qualities. Paul Verhoeven decided to pass on directing the sequel as he wasn’t happy with the direction the studio wanted to take the story. He was then offered the job on Total Recall which ended up being released the same year as Robocop 2. The original screenwriters also failed to return and the script was penned by Frank Miller (best known for Sin City and his work as a comic book writer) and Walon Green (The Wild Bunch). Irvin Kershner (The Empire Strikes Back) signed on as director and it would turn out to be the final film he would helm.

The film is notably dark and possibly even more violent than the original. Peter Weller returns as the eponymous cyborg who continues to police the streets of an increasingly out of control Detroit. The city is dealing with an epidemic surrounding a new drug called Nuke, pushed by the psychotic Cain (Tom Noonan) and his gang of miscreants. The nefarious corporation OCP is also moving ahead with secret plans to bankrupt the city and turn it into their own Delta City, independent of the US government.

As part of the plan they have been increasing the amount of crime in the city by causing police strikes. They also intend to expand the Robocop program by using dead criminals, and not police officers, as the basis for their next cyborgs. When Cain is mortally wounded during a confrontation with Robocop, the unscrupulous scientist Faxx (Belinda Bauer) seizes the opportunity to implant his brain in her new robotic creation. Unfortunately for her and OCP Cain’s addiction to Nuke, which they initially think they can use to control him, turns out to be their undoing. Only Robocop can stop the new cyborg’s rampage and end the Delta City dream once and for all.

Tongdee Panumas (he signs his posters with just his first name) was an incredibly prolific Thai film poster artist during the 70s, 80s and 90s. I’ve been unable to find out much about him, other than that he was born in 1947, so if anyone has any more details please get in touch.

Note that the line across the centre of the poster is where the original artboards onto which Tongdee paints were joined. Thai artists apparently often struggled to find large enough canvases to paint on. There are also some other marks where the original canvases were damaged before printing – see the close up of the female figure on the right as an example. The main figure on this poster is repainted from the photographic international one sheet which can be seen here.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master / quad / UK

20.06.16

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master
AKA
--
Year of Film
1988
Director
Renny Harlin
Starring
Robert Englund, Lisa Wilcox, Danny Hassel, Andras Jones, Tuesday Knight, Ken Sagoes, Brooke Bundy, Nicholas Mele, Toy Newkirk, Brooke Theiss, Rodney Eastman
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Horror
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1988
Designer
Graham Humphreys
Artist
Graham Humphreys
Size (inches)
30" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
"The biggest Nightmare of all"

This is the UK quad for the release of the fourth entry in the ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ franchise (subtitled The Dream Master). The film marked a big break for Finnish director Renny Harlin who admitted to heavily petitioning the film’s producer, and founder of New Line Cinema, Robert (Bob) Shaye for the job. Harlin had previously helmed a couple of low-budget flicks (Born American and Prison) but the box-office success of this film led to him being given the job of directing the Die Hard sequel in 1990. Sadly, his career stalled towards the end of that decade following a series of box-office bombs that included Cliffhanger and Cutthroat Island.

The fourth film followed on from one of the best entries in the franchise, 1987’s Dream Warriors, which was a marked improvement over the first sequel. This was thanks in part to the involvement of the first film’s Wes Craven, who had been absent from Part 2.

The Dream Master picks up a few months after the events of the third film and features characters that had last been seen in a mental hospital, but are now living at home and seemingly back to normal. Kirsten, previously played by Patricia Arquette and here by Tuesday Knight, has the ability to bring others into her dreams. When she senses Freddy is trying to return after being banished to hell at the end of Part 3, she contacts Kincaid (Ken Sagoes) and Joey (Rodney Eastman) to warn them not to dream about Freddy in case it causes his return.

Unfortunately, Kincaid fails to heed Kirsten’s warning and he falls asleep, dreaming of the car junkyard where Freddy’s bones were previously consecrated with holy water. His dog urinates on Freddy’s bones and this, for some bizarre reason, causes his resurrection whereupon he swiftly kills Kincaid. Freddy begins to terrorize Kirsten and her group of school friends and she realises she needs to pass on her powers to Alice before she too is killed. Freddy’s plan was to use Kirsten to move onto a new set of kids after he’s killed the original group (all children of the parents who murdered him before the events of the first film) and together this new gang must try to put an end to his nefarious plans once and for all.

———-

Palace Pictures had been handling the British distribution of the horror franchise since the first film and had worked with the same artist, Graham Humphreys, to produce unique poster designs for the UK market. When it came to promoting The Dream Master, Graham produced this quad and a larger 4-sheet (with alternate artwork) for use in cinema lobbies and on billboards. The quad features the stained glass window seen in a sequence involving a dilapidated church near the end of the film, as well as the Crave Inn diner where Alice works (its name is a not very subtle nod to the franchise’s creator).

When I interviewed Graham in 2011 for this site he talked the Elm Street posters and here’s an excerpt:

—————-

In 1987 it was back to an illustration for A Nightmare on Elm Street 4. It’s a great image with the ‘Crave Inn Diner’ and the stained glass featuring Freddy in silhouette. Can you remember why they went back to illustration for this?
I think by that time they just felt that they were flogging a dead horse with the Nightmare on Elm Street films. They said ‘take a look at the film and do what you want’. My idea was to do a postcard idea, ‘Greetings from hell’, and unfortunately without a computer it’s very hard to understand how stuff’s going to look when it’s actually printed. So for example with the Evil Dead you’ll notice that the copy line at the top is very hard to read because, tonally, the orange disappears against the purple. Given a computer there are all sorts of things I could have done, like a drop shadow or a glow behind it.

So it was often the case that you wouldn’t know what it was going to look like until you printed it?
No, everything was an experiment. This poster could have been so much different as well though. The stained glass from the final scene in the church was good for me because it was a lovely device that meant I could use the large silhouette [of Freddy]. I also thought it was interesting because at that point the face was so familiar so we could take it dark again; we know who he is. We also did the cheeky James Bond spoof poster.

Ah, you were involved with that?
I was, it was my idea.

 

———————

Graham also had the idea of creating a small run of double crowns that spoofed the iconic James Bond gun barrel opening sequence created by Maurice Binder and first seen in Dr No (1962). This was because The Dream Master was being released up against The Living Daylights, the latest entry in the long-running spy franchise. The resulting poster can be seen here.

To see the other posters I’ve collected by Graham click here and read the exclusive interview with the artist here.